On Tuesday night at Sotheby's in London a Picasso work sold for over $40 million but at the Christie's London Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Auction on Wednesday night the top lot didn't find its buyer. The highlight of the sale was supposed to be "Nature morte à L'Espérance", a still life painted by Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) in 1901 while he was living in Tahiti. The painting was a tribute to Gauguin's friend and fellow artist Vincent Van Gogh who died in 1890. This painting was shown at the artist's first landmark retrospective in 1906, and appeared in over 20 major Museum exhibitions at, among other places, MOMA, the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, Tate London and the National Gallery of Art in Washington. It had been unseen in public since 1989 and was estimated at £7 million to £10 million. According to ArtInfo, bidding stalled out at £5.8 million.
The auction soldiered on quite well without the lot. It raised £61.9 million ($99.6 million) which was toward the lower end of the expected range. Two records were set, one for the top lot of the night, Pierre Bonnard's "Terrasse a Vernon" which sold for £7.2 million ($11.6 million) handily beating the estimate of £3 to 4 million. A record was also set for Salvador Dali's surrealist version of a beach scene when Etude pour 'Le miel est plus doux que le sang', 1926-27, estimated at £2 to 3 million, brought in £4,073,250.